South Africans with lowest credit scores spend the most on rent

Nearly two out of every five tenants in South Africa are risky. On average, 14.2% of South African tenants are classified as minimum-risk according to their credit scores, while 37.2% are classified as high-risk.

PayProp head of data and analytics, Johette Smuts says that according to the PayProp Rental Index from the third quarter of 2018, this high-risk contingent of tenants spend about 33% of their net income on rent.

Smuts says there is a widely accepted unwritten rule that a tenant shouldn’t pay more than 30% of their net income for rent.

“While PayProp data shows that the average percentage of rent paid by tenants in the third quarter of 2018 was indeed 30%, we also see a correlation between a tenant’s risk level, determined by their credit score, and the percentage of net income that they spend on their rent.

“Tenants with higher credit scores (and therefore lower risk ratings), spend less of their income on rent than high-risk and very high-risk tenants. Lower-risk tenants spend less than 30% of their income on rent, and tenants with the lowest risk spend only 24% of their income on rent,” says Smuts.

Smuts says that the best advice she could offer prospective tenants in 2019 is to take a good look at the properties they’re considering renting.

“It would be wise to look for a home that calls for a lower rental, thereby making budget available to allocate to settling outstanding debt.”

Added to the pressure that consumers are feeling with rent, the average national debt-to-income ratio is around 44%, which means that 44% of the average person’s net income is used to repay debt each month. With inflationary pressures continuing into 2019, the risk profile of tenants will be under more scrutiny in an effort to protect the interests of landlords, agencies and owners alike.